Changed Identity — grateful, yet grieving

When I took the photo of the trunks and luggage you see in the picture above, I wondered where did each trunk go and what was their purpose?  I asked myself those same questions after my husband died; where did I go and what is my purpose now? 

Each of the large trunks represents something of my past.  The bottom trunk is where my identity as Fred’s wife remains; who I use to be.  The trunk above was my routine of doing life with another person; what I use to do.  The trunk holding the smaller pieces of luggage is the treasure chest that holds the memories of places we went; where I use to go.

Those smaller pieces of luggage arranged on the top of the three trunks hold space for something else; for who I am becoming.  The loss of a loved one changes us.  We are not who we once were.  It can’t be helped. We are different.

Miriam Neff, author and founder of The Widow Connection, a world-wide ministry to support widows, says, “As a widow, I have learned that we all change.  And much of the change is good. We become faith-filled because we cannot face the day any other way.  We become strong because we have no other choice. We are compassionate because our heart has been broken.”

Our grief has opened us wide to find what’s always been there.  We just didn’t know it.  We’ve emerged with a changed identity.  It’s part of the journey as we morph into a different version of ourselves. Quite possibly, we become who we would never become if our loved one was still here: Finding out we are braver than we ever knew and more dependent on God than before, as we trust, accept and live out a different identity.   

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Used with permission from Pam Luschei.

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